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When a farmer cultivates his fields and applies manure or fertiliser, some of the nutrients contained in the soil and fertilisers can get into the aquatic environment. In the past various drinking water catchments had to be shut down because of excessive nitrate levels. Other possible consequences of nutrient inputs to surface waters are fish death following “slurry accidents”, and impaired bathing quality due to increased algal growth.
It is unclear which agricultural fields lose particularly high amounts of nutrients. ART is therefore investigating which the “contributing areas” are and how the losses on these can be reduced. To do this our researchers firstly carry out extensive model calculations and secondly take measurements in the field and in special facilities (lysimeters). Once the “contributing areas” have been identified, they can be targeted for suitable measures against nutrient leaching.
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